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A longitudinal study of antipredator behaviour in four successive generations of two populations of captive red junglefowl
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2008 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 114, no 3-4, 409-418 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conservation breeding and reintroduction into the wild can only be an effective management tool if behaviours essential for a life in the wild are maintained in captivity. The aim of this study was to investigate how a protected captive environment influences antipredator behaviour over generations. The red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) was used as a case study. Birds from two different captive populations were followed over four generations. In the last three generations, all birds were hatched and reared in the same indoor settings. Antipredator behaviour was measured in each generation in a standardised test where the birds were exposed to a simulated predator attack. The test was divided into three parts: pre-exposure period, exposure and post-exposure periods. There was an interaction effect between Population and generation (F-3.129 = 4.84, P < 0.01) on behaviour during the pre-exposure period, suggesting that the birds "baseline" agitation level may have been altered differently in the two populations. Population differences were also found during the post-exposure period but the populations tended to become more similar over successive generations in their behaviour after the exposure. Furthermore, there were significant effects of generation (H (d.f. = 1, N = 137) = 10.94, P < 0.05) as well as population (H (d.f. = 1, N = 137) = 5.17, P < 0.05) on the immediate reaction to the simulated predator attack. In conclusion, over four successive generations, the two populations altered their antipredator behaviour and tended to become more similar. This study shows that antipredator behaviour may change over generations in a captive environment. This is likely to be one of the most crucial factors for successful reintroduction into the wild and hence, it is a very important aspect to consider for conservation breeding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 114, no 3-4, 409-418 p.
Keyword [en]
Domestication, Contrafreeloading, Junglefowl, White Leghorn, Age, Social isolation
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16126DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.04.003OAI: diva2:133208
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-07 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Behavioural aspects of conservation breeding: Red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) as a case study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural aspects of conservation breeding: Red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) as a case study
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Ett stort antal utrotningshotade djurarter ingår idag i bevarandeprogram världen över. Små populationer hålls då i skyddade miljöer, exempelvis i djurparker, och i många fall är målet att återintroducera djur till naturen. Dessvärre är det vanligt att det uppstår problem när djur återintroduceras vilket kan bero på beteendemässiga anpassningar som uppkommit under tiden i fångenskap. Syftet med den här studien var därför att undersöka beteendemässiga aspekter på bevarandeavel och försöka ta reda på om och hur djur påverkas beteendemässigt av att hållas i skyddade fångenskapsmiljöer. I projektet användes röda djungelhöns (Gallus gallus) som en fallstudie. En granskning av beteendevariation mellan olika populationer av röda djungelhöns i fångenskap konstaterade skillnader i antipredatorbeteende, socialt beteende och födosöksbeteende. Vid en genetisk studie av samma populationer upptäcktes dessutom ett samband mellan genetisk diversitet och beteendevariation som potentiellt kan vara intressant ur ett bevarandeperspektiv. Socialt beteende, födosöksbeteende och olika aspekter av rädsla studerades vidare i populationer med olika bakgrund som fick växa upp tillsammans i en grupp. Resultaten visade att populationerna bara skilde sig åt i rädslebeteenden vilket antyder att denna typ av beteende i större utsträckning påverkas av långvarig avel i en viss fångenskapsmiljö medan socialt beteende och födosöksbeteende istället kan bero på den omedelbara sociala eller fysiska miljön. Antipredatorbeteende studerades också i en longitudinell studie av två populationer över fyra generationer och det visade sig att populationerna blev mer lika varandra ju längre tiden gick då de hölls under likadana miljöförhållanden. Det verkar alltså som om antipredatorbeteende kan förändras av avel i en viss miljö efter bara ett fåtal generationer. Utöver detta studerades även dagliga beteendemönster i olika djurparksmiljöer samt dygnsrytm av galanden hos både vilda populationer och djurparkspopulationer inom artens naturliga utbredningsområde. Resultaten tyder på att sådana beteendemönster inte påverkas nämnvärt av att djur hålls i fångenskap. Fallstudien som presenteras här är ett av de första försöken att, ur ett bevarandeperspektiv, studera hur fångenskapsmiljöer kan påverka djurs beteende och resultaten talar för att dessa aspekter är viktiga att ta hänsyn till vid planering av bevarandeavel.

Abstract [en]

A number of endangered species are currently involved in conservation breeding programs worldwide. Conservation breeding deals with propagation of captive populations, often with the ultimate aim of releasing animals into the wild. However, an alarmingly high proportion of reintroductions have not been successful in establishing viable populations, possibly due to behavioural problems caused by genetic adaptation to captivity. The main aim of this thesis was to study behavioural aspects of conservation breeding and investigate whether, and how, maintenance of small populations in captivity cause behavioural modifications, which could affect the success of reintroductions. Throughout the project, the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) was used as a case study, representing animals maintained in captive populations. A screening of behavioural variation revealed that captive populations differ in antipredator, social and exploratory behaviours, all of which are central components of life in the wild. A correlation was also found between genetic diversity and behavioural variation. This has not been reported before and may potentially have interesting implications for conservation breeding. When studying the behaviour of populations with different backgrounds being raised together as one group, the results suggested that fear-related behaviours may be more affected by long-term breeding in a certain captive environment than social and exploratory behaviours which seem to be more influenced by the immediate social or physical environment. A longitudinal study of antipredator behaviour in two populations across four generations revealed that the populations became more similar over time when maintained under identical conditions. This demonstrates that effects of a new environment can appear after only a few generations. Furthermore, daily behavioural routines in different captive environments as well as diurnal crowing rhythms in both wild and captive populations were studied in the species’ natural region of distribution and the results suggest that such behavioural patterns are not affected by the captive environments to any notable extent. The present case study is one of the first attempts to, from a conservation perspective, study how captive environments can affect behaviour and the results imply that these aspects are important to take into consideration in conservation breeding programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi, 2007
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1137
Behaviour, Conservation, Red junglefowl, Gallus gallus, Captivity
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-10035 (URN)978-91-85895-73-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-11-23, Planck, Fysikhuset, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2007-10-19 Created: 2007-10-19 Last updated: 2009-03-30

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